Iran has tested Western resolve in other, blunter ways. It has breached its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and made a mockery of inspections. It supplied weapons to Shia militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. It kidnapped 15 British sailors last year and has harassed American warships in the Straits of Hormuz. In July it tested missiles capable of hitting India and Europe. It routinely announces that Israel should be “wiped off the map”. All at no cost – Iran gets away with it.
This is not to suggest that it would be better to castrate the children of Iran’s leaders. It is to advocate an approach that will threaten Iran’s most vital interests and hit the Islamic Republic where it is most vulnerable. How far are we prepared to go to blunt Iran’s nuclear ambitions? As yet, not very far – and Iran knows it.